News and Press Releases


June 24, 2005

KENNETH DWAYNE DAWSON, 33, a former resident of Bainbridge Island, Washington, was sentenced today to 21 months in prison and 5 years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik for embezzling $398,421.00 from Washington Mutual Bank, where he served as a Vice President and Manager of the Credit Risk Analysis in the bank's downtown Seattle office. DAWSON has repaid only a portion of the money he embezzled and was ordered to pay restitution to the bank of more than $385,000.

Court papers indicate that DAWSON, a graduate of Duke University,
established Direction Enterprises, a Washington-based Limited Liability Corporation, to open and run restaurants and dance clubs. DAWSON used this company, operating under a d/b/a called Direction Enterprises Consulting (DEC), to create false invoices from DEC on his computer. DAWSON then used his position with the bank to establish DEC as a vender of Washington Mutual and then personally authorized the fictitious invoices to be paid by the bank's accounts payable division.

DAWSON signed for a U.S. Post Office box where Washington Mutual would send the payments. After collecting the payments, DAWSON would deposit them into the account of DEC and then transfer funds from there into his personal bank account with another bank. DAWSON used some of the money to pay for what was then an experimental treatment for Leukemia, however much of the money went for lavish trips, expensive gifts and even plastic surgery for a friend.

Dawson was terminated from the bank in December 2003, when his embezzlement activity was discovered by Washington Mutual's internal investigations division.

At sentencing today, Assistant United States Attorney Bruce Miyake acknowledged DAWSON's medical condition but added "This fleecing of the bank went far beyond the cost of his medical treatment.... DAWSON's actions were not out of desperation, but were driven by greed."

A number of Washington Mutual employees who worked with DAWSON attended the sentencing. Some spoke of how his embezzlement had damaged their ability to trust their co-workers. DAWSON apologized to the coworkers, blaming the embezzlement in part on a mis-diagnosed mental illness.

In sentencing DAWSON to 21 months in prison, Judge Lasnik accepted DAWSON's medical problems as mitigating factors. But the judge rejected the defense request for a sentence of home confinement saying "this crime deserves prison time." Lasnik agreed with prosecutors that "greed was a factor, feeling important was a factor.... He was spending money on the trappings of being a wealthy, successful person."

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bruce Miyake and former Assistant United States Attorney Reagan Dunn. For further information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206) 553-4110.

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